The self-taped audition, asking the actors to tape themselves and send the audition electronically, is becoming an industry staple.
-- video camera: pretty much any cameras on the market will work, but don't use a web cam. Actually, your smart phone works great. Just make sure your recording device has a function
to transfer the tape to your computer.
-- don't try to hold i: use someone else to do the taping. Even the steadiest hands will jiggle a bit.
-- background: solid color wall or a subtle background sheet. Don't use white or black-too harsh. You might want to consider the mood of the scene in choosing your color, along with
what color looks best with your skin tone. You don't want the attention to be taken away from the actor. Again, this doesn't have to be a pro level backdrop--a sheet will work just fine.
-- lighting: unless your location has really nice natural light, you will probably need to make sure that the viewer can see skin tones, hair and eye color. It should be light, but not blinding.
You want light that is flattering and has depth. The ideal is 3-point lighting where one is overhead, and two lights are at 45 degree angles. Google "3 point lighting technique" for more
-- location, location, location: Think quiet. No dogs, no airplanes. You need to be sure the sound is loud enough.
-- a reader: A person reading the lines off camera.
--where to look: look directly into the camera.
--plenty of storage to download your movie into an e-mail.
- Read all the instructions that came with the breakdown and follow them to the letter.
- Rehearse and discuss the scene, but try very hard not to over act. It may require a few "takes" to feel like you got a good one, but don't do 20 takes.
- Start your video with a "slate" (Hi, my name is James and I'll be reading for the role of Luther. I'm represented by Crawford Talent Management.)
- Shoot close enough that the viewer can see facial expressions and that they are the true focus of the scene. Usually, this means the actor's chest to the
top of their head are in the frame. Shoot at a slight angle, with one shoulder forward. Most people have a favorite "side"-- now is the time to use that.
- transfer the video from your camera to your computer (this usually involves plugging in a USB cable).
- Name the video file with "Your Name, Project Name and Role).
- Make sure to save a copy on your computer, just in case something happens
- SEND THE VIDEO TO US AT firstname.lastname@example.org. WE WILL PREP THEM WITH YOUR MEDIA PACKAGE AND IMMEDIATELY MAKE THEM
AVAILABLE TO THE CASTING DIRECTOR.
HOW TO BUILD A GREAT PORTFOLIO
Models have zed cards (also called composite cards or comp cards) and a portfolio.
Actors have headshot cards.
Rule 1: A portfolio should include quality pictures, that show diversity in looks, over the
quantity of pictures in a book. Models have a book off of one or two really great
pictures to start.
Rule 2: The first picture in your portfolio should be the best picture that you have ever
had taken of you. It is your first impression. Make it that!!
Rule 3: Make every picture interesting. When a client of agent turns from page to
page they should be surprised at the different looks and concepts you have to offer.
Rule 4: When starting out it is acceptable to use one great photographer. You should,
however, use different photographers that can help you bring different looks into your
Rule 5: Be very open to allowing the stylist and/or make-up artist develop unusual or
different looks for you. Practice in front of a mirror to develop the use of your face with
a variety of expressions. Study your body and how it best looks in a mirror. Take a
photo posing class. Practice by taking selfies on your smart phones.
Rule 6: Only include pictures that show your realistic marketability. If you are not
athletic, don't do athletic type pictures. If you are not tall enough to work in fashion,
don't shoot fashion type pictures. If you have great beauty, make sure to capture that
great beauty in many different face shots. If you are a commercial model, make sure
you include a great smiling picture and perhaps a variety of product endorsement
Rule 7: Include both Black & White and Color pictures in your book.
Rule 8: If you are looking sideways or off the page, make sure that you have the
picture facing into the center of the book. This is an old advertising trick. Never have a
picture placed in your book that has you looking off into space. Also, never turn a
picture sideways in your book. A portfolio needs to flow...client's should not have to
turn your book to see a picture.
Rule 9: If a client does not like a certain picture in your book do NOT pull it out. Every
client has a different opinion. Your agent and/or manager should review your book and make the
decision to remove pictures.
Rule 10: Do NOT use your portfolio for a storage unit. Your book should include your
pictures and a few copies of your zed card in the back. Do not carry around slides,
contact sheets, or any other junk! Respect your book!
Rule 11: All of the photos should show your photogenic ability and look stronger that
you do in person. Leave the bad pictures at home! Your agent should have the final
say on your book. (Give your bad pictures to your Grandma...she will love them no
Rule 12: If it is evident that you are using several pictures from the same photo shoot
(same look, same hair, same make-up, and same clothing) keep them grouped
together. Do not think you a fooling anyone by moving them to different locations
in your book.
Rule 13: A portfolio is a work in progress...always! It is the deciding factor in the
modeling industry if you work or not.
No doubt the most effective trend in marketing talent! Every professional model must have an effective and
current Media Package.
Your Media Package should include:
- Most current and effective head shot
- Up to date Acting Resume
- Video samples of your work (Also known as your reel)
In the beginning, most Actors video will include a great commercial and monologue tape. As the Actor becomes
more experienced, the video will include only current and effective work. Bonus... if you reel includes work with
We recommend that you work with a Public Relation firm to help develop and keep your media package up-to-date.
PR Agents are experts at developing marketing materials.